Add Gen Xers to the long list of Americans who fear they won’t have a sizable enough nest egg to retire.
Nearly four out of 10 (37%) of Generation X — those born between 1965 and the late 1970s — say they would like to stop working for good and “fully retire” someday, “but will not be able to afford to,” a new survey from TD Ameritrade, an online broker based in Omaha, found.
Other gloomy Gen X retirement findings:
- 43% say “they are behind” in their savings.
- Half (49%) are “worried about running out of money” once they leave the workforce.
- Nearly two out of 10 (17%) say they “aren’t saving or investing for anything.”
- Only a third expect to be “very secure” in retirement — vs. nearly half of Baby Boomers.
The savings shortfall has been exacerbated by the phasing out of traditional pensions funded by employers. In their place is the increasing reliance on 401(k) plans and IRAs that require workers to do most of the saving on their own.
Gen Xers aren’t alone in their financial angst. The finances of the younger Millennial generation have been hurt by the Great Recession in 2008-09 and high college costs. Older Boomers, according to the TD Ameritrade survey, are also uncertain about their preparedness, with just 47% saying they expect to be “very secure” in retirement. The oldest of the roughly 65 million Gen X Americans — those now 39 to 53 — will be the next generation to retire.
Lule Demmissie, managing director of retirement and investment at TD Ameritrade, says the Gen X savings deficit is due partly to a series of setbacks — but stresses it’s not too late to get back on track.
Gen Xers were derailed by three market downturns — the 1987 stock market crash, the 2000 tech stock meltdown and the 2008 financial crisis. They also were the “first 401(k) generation,” which transferred the responsibility to fund retirement from employers to workers. This generation was also more likely to have grown up in a family split by divorce and as latch-key kids, two factors TD Ameritrade says lead to less financial security as adults.
“They took a lot of hits,” Demmissie says.
Demmissie notes that Generation X, which started saving for retirement at 29, or five years earlier than Boomers, can reclaim their financial lives.
“It’s easy to be cynical, but the important thing for Generation X is that all hope is not lost,” she says. “Improving their finances is still very much in their control.”
Her advice: Control what you can control. Take advantage of your 401(k). Find out how the tax-code changes will impact you. And don’t expect to build your nest egg to $1 million overnight.
“Break down your financial goals into manageable milestones,” she says, such as picking a year you would like to retire and figure out how much you need to save each month to get there.
The TD Ameritrade survey included 828 Gen Xers and 990 Baby Boomers.